SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 17, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A coalition of voters has filed a lawsuit against the Utah Legislature over a congressional redistricting map approved last year, calling lawmakers’ action an “extreme partisan gerrymander” and “unconstitutional.”
The League of Women Voters of Utah, Mormon Women for Ethical Government and seven individual voters announced the lawsuit Thursday during a news conference at the Capitol.
The lawsuit accuses the Republican-controlled Legislature of gerrymandering the map to favor the GOP and ignoring a citizen-led initiative to establish an independent redistricting commission.
“As a registered Republican, I am dismayed that the Republican-controlled Legislature chose to subvert the will of the people during its redistricting process,” said Victoria Reid, a Millcreek resident and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
“In 2018, a majority of Utahns voted for Proposition 4, an anti-gerrymandering initiative. Yet, in direct opposition to the people’s voice, the state legislature adopted gerrymandered congressional maps following a deeply flawed process. The result is highly partisan political boundaries that undermine our right to choose our own leaders,” Reid said.
The lawsuit filed in 3rd District Court seeks to block implementation of the maps approved by the Legislature. The suit also names the Utah Legislative Redistricting Committee, House Speaker Brad Wilson, Senate President Stuart Adams, Sen. Scott Sandall, and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson as defendants.
“The Legislature repeatedly used anti-democratic measures — repealing Proposition 4 and then ignoring the (independent redistricting) commission’s nonpartisan map recommendations — to perpetuate one-party rule over Utah’s congressional delegation despite the state’s changing demographics,” the lawsuit states.
“At a time when public trust in government is already low, the Legislature has ignored the will of the people, abandoned neutral criteria, and reduced the redistricting process to a partisan exercise,” according to the lawsuit.
Catherine Weller, president of the League of Women Voters of Utah, said the nonpartisan organization was “astounded” by the Legislature’s action.
“We believe voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around,” Weller said.